Twitch loves classic Doctor Who – and companion Ian Chesterton most of all

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Ian Chesterton, your time has come again!
The First Doctor, Ian Chesterton, Vicki, and Barbara Wright. (BBC)
The First Doctor, Ian Chesterton, Vicki, and Barbara Wright. (BBC)

Doctor Who on Twitch Presents started Friday, and thousands of viewers all over the world are networking while either discovering the British sci-fi program’s early years for the first time, or enjoying it for first time in a long time.

Mainly they’ve discovered Ian Chesterton (William Russell) from the First Doctor’s original TARDIS crew — a teacher, like fellow unwilling time traveler Barbara Wright (Jacqueline Hill), with whom he follows the Doctor’s precocious granddaughter into a junkyard’s blue police box to find out why she’s so odd and ends up swept away on two years of adventures through time and space.

Russell, who’s still alive at 93, suddenly has a whole lot of new fans. (He’s also the father of millennial actor Alfred Enoch, who played Dean Thomas in the Harry Potter films and appeared in the first few season of ABC’s How to Get Away With Murder, so chances are he knows it.)

But all good things must come to an end, so of course an instant meme emerged when Ian and Barbara took a stolen time machine home at the end of “The Chase,” a longer serial that saw them evading the evil Daleks in a series of jumps through time.

Ending their on-screen journey (they were ‘shipped before ‘shipping was a thing, and have appeared in numerous spin-off media), they arrive home in “London 1965,” which leads to a joyous romp through the city even though they’ve been missing from their previous lives there for two years.

Meanwhile, the crusty old Doctor watches from inside the TARDIS with Vicki on his creepy “Time Television” and finally admits he “shall miss them — silly old fusspots!”

Normally running Monday through Friday starting at 11 a.m. Pacific through July, there were some technical difficulties early on that brought the stream back Saturday.

Monday’s stream picks up still in the time of the First Doctor, William Hartnell, with 1965’s “The Time Meddler” followed by “The Ark,” “The Gunfighters” and “The War Machines.” Then it’s on to Second Doctor Patrick Troughton’s adventures. They’re skipping over a lot of material, some of it lost, but it’s still turning into a fascinating, cross-generational cultural phenomenon playing out all over the world — an unexpected delight in a year frought with genre fan divisions.

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